Tourism & Hospitality

Share their story

Gcina Dlamini, 34

Owner and founder
Merchantry Worldwide

University of Johannesburg graduate and University of Howard (Washington, DC) dual degree-holder Gcina Dlamini wants to educate people about South Africa and all that it has to offer through travel. She is the founding owner of Merchantry Worldwide, a high-end travel business using travel as a catalyst for business and investment. “Travel is the best school of life as it changes your narrative of the world,” she says. The Johannesburg resident’s dreams were realised when she was selected to assist the delegation that accompanied President Cyril Ramaphosa and then trade and industry minister Rob Davies in 2018, where she witnessed Ramaphosa tell an audience in New York about South Africa’s promising future. Driven by her desire to learn something new and her will to chase goals, Dlamini wants to contribute to skills development “by constantly exposing people to places and information that are not easily accessible to them”.

Seek help when you are stuck and do not be too hard on yourself.

Author - Lineo Leteba
Kabelo Kgodane, 29

Kabelo Kgodane, 29

Working in the air transport sector has been particularly trying during the pandemic, but Kabelo Kgodane remains optimistic. “I choose to use this crisis in our industry to build a tomorrow we can all be proud of,” she says. Kgodane, a business development manager at SITA, noted the recent rise of ordering and tracking parcels online, and predicts this will affect post-pandemic travel. “Self bag-drop and baggage tracking is the digital solution I am championing now,” she says, adding: “My vision for the African passenger is a purely digital one.” Kgodane is also a philanthropist and an active global citizen. She serves on the Rotary Club of Sandton and as the head of community development for the Black Management Forum Young Professionals. Her goal is for South Africa to be led by principled, active leaders: “I have decided to show up as this person!” —

Marcus Modimokwane, 32

Marcus Modimokwane, 32

Marcus Modimokwane believes that “with food, we can change the world”. When he was young, he remembers watching his grandmother cooking, in particular the most amazing chicken stew — a recipe he is still trying to perfect. It was at DNA Brand Architects where he got to work on brands such as Flying Fish and Nestlé, which drew his attention back to the food space, and he decided to change the course of his career, opting to study at Capsicum Culinary Studio. A love for experimentation means Modimokwane is often travelling and sampling new dishes. His work has been featured on The Morning show on e.tv, GQ South Africa and House & Garden, and he plans to curate experiences for people who love food. His passion for the food industry drives him each day to do better than yesterday. He hopes to share his skills with young people and help them unlock their potential.

I would tell myself that an idea doesn’t have to be great to change the world, sometimes you just need to dream, throw yourself into the universe and be crazy enough to chase your vision relentlessly

Giselle Esau, 34

Giselle Esau, 34

Giselle Esau is the youngest executive to work at Table Mountain Aerial Cableway. The 34-year-old founding owner of The Mighty and The Mercy has signed “big names” to her marketing company during the pandemic. Esau wants people to know that women of colour are a force to be reckoned with. Her goal is to be as great as the next person, and not based on race or gender, but her work — and she wants to empower young South African women to do the same. She regrets fully trusting older people in positions of power and assuming they know better, but this experience taught her that she should always believe in herself. The young executive says: “I would love to continue to push boundaries with my creative campaigns, and show people who come after me that being unique and thinking outside the box is actually your superpower.”

Negative feedback from the right place will help you grow.

Lipian Mtandabari, 27

Lipian Mtandabari, 27

At just 17, Lipian Mtandabari founded Ntsako Travel Africa – an LGBTIQ+ travel company that advocates for equality through travel, promoting the inclusion of the LGBTIQ+ community in the rest of Africa and the world. Mtandabari has already been recognised by the UK’s Attitude magazine as one of its 100 trailblazers, and the company is helping to establish South Africa as a destination of choice for LGBTIQ+ travellers. His proudest moment so far is receiving the David Martin Small Business Award and scholarship from the International LGBTIQ+ Travel Association in 2019 – a moment that showed him his work had made an international impact. His biggest surprise was realising the impact the company has had on the lives of LGBTIQ+ travellers to South Africa and across the continent, including countries with differing laws. “Growing into a better person and seeing the team rise with me drives me every morning,” he says.

Never fear failure — failing doesn’t make you a loser — it teaches you of things you haven’t mastered well.

Dominic Naidoo, 28

Dominic Naidoo, 28

As a business coach and graphic designer, Dominic Naidoo is in the business of helping small, medium and micro enterprises become successful. Through his own business, Fearless Entrepreneurs, he offers coaching and training sessions, as well as logo and brand development, marketing, business registration, web design and domain hosting. Alongside his work in entrepreneurship, Naidoo works in special interest tourism. As a member of the Gay & Lesbian Tourism Association, he works to make Durban an LGBTIQ+ friendly tourist destination. For his work in this field, he was awarded a bursary to learn Mandarin and expand the scope of his tourism work. Naidoo is also a keen environmental advocate, and writes on topics in this sphere. In the environmental space, he organises beach clean-ups with the Clean Blue Lagoon organisation, and is one of the Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife honorary officers at the Beachwood Mangroves Nature Reserve.

It’s best to enjoy each day for what it brings and worry about tomorrow’s battles tomorrow.